Aamir Khan on Sunday graced the third episode of Koffee With Karan Season 6. On the show, Aamir and host Karan Johar talked about the MeToo movement. In the wake of the MeToo movement, Aamir had released a statement saying he and Kiran will not associate themselves with anyone who has been accused of sexual harassment.
Karan started the conversation stating how the movement was necessary to clean up the industry. He said, “As an individual, I think that it is the right thing to have happened to any industry, not just the film fraternity. I think so because there was a certain clean-up required, a certain shift in attitude required and I think the women who are speaking up are empowered. I know how Kiran has a group of female filmmakers that have started a movement together and I know you put out something as well. What do you have to say about it with everything that is going on?”
To which Aamir responded, “First of all, this kind of exploitation women have been facing for decades, centuries and not just in films, in life. And it’s really awful that any human being should be degraded in any manner, should be pressurised in any manner, misused in any manner and preyed upon. It is really heartbreaking. I am glad there is a clean up happening and women are having strength to speak about it. I wish our films did not encourage this kind of behaviour. A lot of societies in the world are patriarchal. India is one of them and the way we objectify women in our films, I have said it on my show Satyamev Jayate, I have done it. I have sung a song “Khambe Jaisi Khadi Hai”. Literally, objectifying women in every sentence. So, it is awful that we have been doing it. You know, it took me a while to realise that what I am doing is not just fun. It impacts society. I realised when all of it was coming out. People I have spoken to have told me that they have been hearing stories about so and so for years. I am shocked that this person could be like that. Never occurred to me that a person could be so predatory in nature. The more I am listening about it, I am realising it is quite rampant. That is really awful and disturbing.”
The Thugs of Hindostan actor continued, “Kiran and I have been talking about it and have decided that if we believe that there is enough reason to doubt the person, then we would not like to engage with that person.”
When Karan Johar asked if that was an intuitive call, Aamir Khan said, “I do not have a choice because in many of these cases, the person who is coming out with the story is not necessarily registering a police complaint. So, a person has not put a police case but is coming out with her story. I respect that. Now, that means this case is not going to be heard in a court of law. So, you will have to decide on your own.”
However, Aamir agrees that deciding on his own also has consequences. The actor said he was aware of the impact of the statement he and Kiran Rao had issued in the wake of the MeToo movement. “I was aware of the responsibility on Kiran and me. Also, there were a lot of things. If the person is innocent, I do not know how will I live with myself because I would have finished the person off. I carry that burden and I think about it every night.”
Agreeing with Aamir Khan, Karan Johar talked about the dilemma he faces every day. He said, “There are names mentioned of people we sell rights to or people who are assigned to do technical service in the films, and I am like I don’t know what I am going to do because my conscience hurts, because I feel like I need to be supportive of the movement because I believe in it. These voices are required and need to be empowered because if we, being in a privileged position, don’t take an action then who will. So, I am in a dilemma every single day. I wake up anxiety ridden because I feel whose name I am going to read today and how it is going to impact their lives? All I can say it is a required clean up. There is a huge positivity to this also. There were people abusing their power, exploiting woman and I think that needed to be eradicated and that is going on.”